January 6, 2012

I start 2012 by watching...K-On?

Well it finally happened. On New Year's day I watched both seasons.

I used to think K-On was yet another dumb cash grab with moeblobs in the vein of Lucky Star which I absolutely hated and bailed after 2 episodes. It also didn't manage to exploit my seiyuu weakness, because seiyuu trends move way too fast these days and I didn't care about a single voice actor in HTT, despite seeing half of them perform live last year. They were all "new" people and I'm a cranky guy stuck in 2007 era seiyuu-fandom since that's when I last had time to really watch much anime.

I also thought hyper-accurate dancing/guitar finger movements/synchronized anime lips/whatever was already a gimmick during Haruhi so I wasn't really impressed when I read a few reviews gushing about OMG ACCURATE INSTRUMENT PLAYING. But my opinion was gradually turned around last year as more people educated me about the show and I started getting more exposed to it. Just little things that did it...like buying K-On merchandise for friends when I was in Japan, or hanging out with a certain guy who had a K-On camera that automatically added them into pictures you took, or just being made to listen to Fuwa Fuwa Time when riding in peoples cars.

By the time I got to Japan I was actually legitimately interested in the series. But I still didn't have enough time to actually watch it. Nor the motivation. However November 2011 was basically K-On month in Japan as people were getting hyped for the upcoming movie release. I decided to make a bet that I would PROBABLY like it, so I held my nose, closed my eyes, and dived straight into the K-On marketing machine. Surely if I didn't do all these activities, my future self would regret missing this chance later on.

So I was going to K-On cafes, visiting K-On locations, buying K-On themed deserts, accumulating K-On collectibles, and finally on December 3rd watching the K-On movie - all without actually knowing what the hell was going on. The majority of these were expensive, non-refundable, non-transferable, non-resellable experiences and essentially impossible to hedge financially. Payable one month later on my credit card bill. We call this taking a naked position.

Well it turned out to be a lot of fun, and also turned out to the last push I really needed to get me to marathon the whole series last week. It was good. And so I reaped the rewards of my K-On experience in Japan, retroactively.

One sign that my 2012 luck is looking good: the character who turned out to be my favorite was one I accidentally got a ton of bromides for. And it wasn't who I thought it would be.

And in another sign, KKD is up 10% today. It may not be cake, but donuts are close enough.

Posted by Paranda at 6:52 PM | Comments (2)

November 25, 2011

Amagami SS All Night Screening


On 11/19, I attended the Amagami SS all night screening, part of a new series of "Roppongi Anime Night" events held by Toho Cinemas in Roppongi Hills. This was the second of Amagami SS screenings, each of which show 3 major arcs. The first one, which I didn't go to, featured Tanamachi Kaori (Satou Rina), Nanasaki Ai (Yukana), and Nakata Sae (Konno Hiromi). I was still in America at the time.

This time, the featured girls were Morishima Haruka (Itou Shizuka), Sakurai Rihoko (Shitani Ryoko), Ayatsuji Tsukasa (Shintani Ryoko). There was also a 1 episode arc for Kamizaki Risa (Kadowaki Mai).

The format involves a 40 minute talk session with host and voice for the main character, Maeno Tomoaki, along with the 3 seiyuu featured (Maita not included since she doesn't have a full arc), followed by a mini-live by azusa. Both the talk and performances were held in the pit area at the base of the screen. Since it was a movie theatre, even the back rows were quite close to the stage, and since each row sat higher than the previous row, visibility wasn't a huge problem.

I went into Amagami SS with almost no knowledge of any kind and only discovered this event while looking at seiyuu sites. I even originally confused the Amagami girls with Love Plus girls, but I ended up having a pretty good time regardless.

The seiyuus were pretty much like how I expected, and I'm glad to finally see them in real life. They were all mostly casually dressed. Itou Shizuka dressed hippie flower child but had a very sharp tongue, and Shintani Ryoko radiated her Shintani aura just like in videos. I wasn't sure what to expect from Nazuka Kaori since I only saw her photos but never heard her on any radio or extra stuff. She looked like a no-nonsense suit and stockings type but ended up being pretty chill as well and almost seemed to be role-playing her character a bit.

For the talk, it was pretty open and anything-goes. Since this screening was 11pm Saturday night, the host asked them what they'd usually be doing at this time. Everybody said they were getting drunk. Host himself included. The chat was playful, with the seiyuu acknowledging the unusual format of resetting arcs and feigning jealousy. Itou said she had it the worst because she gets reset so early on. Shintani was more of a "I'm glad everyone has an ending" type, and Nazuka says it wasn't so bad since she was the final arc.

Once they started they talked about afureko, thoughts on singing the EDs, and other show-related topics, it became clear to me that not having any knowledge of the Amagami series was a bit of a drawback. Each seiyuu picked one of their major memorable scenes in their characters' stories.

Itou of course picked the back-of-knee kissing scene, which she described as "back of knee peropero play."

Shintani picked the scene where the MC holds her character's cheeks while wearing her hand-knitted mittens.

Nazuka picked the scene where she pulls the guy's tie. "This really doesn't seem like it belongs in a renai anime" she said. Of course the context of these scenes were lost to me at the time.

Another memorable part was when Maeno comments on the bread eating scene and Shintani gets embarassed. "Hey now, we don't need to talk about that episode." When he keeps trying to persuade her by saying how it's an endearing trait and he likes all the girls, Itou cuts in to say he's total scum.

After the talk, azusa came in to sing "i Love" and "Kimi no mama de." While I knew she was going to appear, I never researched azusa or listened to either song at all so it caught me off guard when this random girl who didn't look a day out of high school suddenly puts out this awesome voice. I instantly felt like she was like a cleaner version of Makino Yui, and she had better air control too. Musically, that was the highlight of my night. Later on, I bought the album and was pleasantly surprised to find she wrote all of her own music as well. The compression on the album wasn't bad either, and as long as it's of this quality, I think I'll follow her works.

Finally, after all the live events, the episodes started. The screen was very big, probably IMAX level, and video scaled surprisingly well. I had expected worse since the Miku screening in NYC was full of artifacts, but this time's picture was nice and clean and the sound quality was also perfect. However, at this point I had been up for close to 28 hours and I fell asleep during 2 - 3 of the episodes. I was awake for back of knee licking scene though, which got a huge reaction from the audience. Haruka and Rihoko are so cute. I'll have to rewatch parts of Haruka and Tsukasa though because I was out like a light during some of those scenes and thus completely lost on some developments. Each arc was separated by a 10 minute break which did help me regain my energy. As for Rihoko, well, this very much holds true.

Clearfile present for attendees

6 hours later, I emerged for Chaos Party.

Posted by Paranda at 10:45 PM | Comments (3)

December 28, 2010

OreImo in 300 words

Actually just an extension of something that started on twitter. On the whole brother sister dynamic:

---

- Here's this plain dude. He's a schlub at school, has like 1 friend total, and even his parents ignore him.
- His sister is awesome.
- Dude has inferiority complex so he never talks to his sister.
- Sister interprets this as him being an ass, resents him because she wants his attention.
- She finally reveals weakness: I am a gross disgusting otaku.
- Dude supports sister because he sees opportunity to help her in some way when she never needed help before.
- He gets really into it because his life is so shit that this event validates everything. Lives vicariously through her.
- Sister, having been used to treating dude like dirt, continues to do so.
- She finally gets the attention she wants, but as this finally happens, the side effect is that the guy is actually enjoying his life.
- He's building a mountain of IOUs in favors, having girls interested in him, starting to get a more positive outlook etc.
- Sister gets conflicted about guy eventually growing out of it. Has no idea how to react, defense mechanism is to treat him even worse (maintain status quo harder)
- The guy takes it because he's has no clue (since he's a chump and a scrub). If he thought about it for 2 seconds, he would realize he actually has some leverage.
- Sister continues to be huge butt.
- Guy continues to take it. Shakes head and goes "well that's just how she is" while he prepares his daily routine of greasing his ass so that her shoe may enter it.
- Sister's friends see this and acknowledge how unfair it is. Then they share a hearty laugh and continue to spectate because "haha damn I wonder if this boot will fit too after he's already got a shoe up there".
- Repeat for eternity, author makes money

Posted by Paranda at 2:06 PM | Comments (3)

February 3, 2009

Asu no Yoichi is probably my favorite show this season

Since I was once a shameless watcher of seiyuu vehicles regardless of quality, I'll just say that this one is actually someting look forward to every week. It's also one of the only series I am watching this season. I used to watch like 10 series at once but in the past year I have seen a drastic reduction of available free time so I now use the casting to very heavily narrow down which series I even start. Looks like I got pretty lucky this time.

Things that I like about my pointless harem anime:

1. S++ female seiyuu cast. Basically everybody I like except Momoi and Chiwa Saitou are in it.

2. VERY IMPORTANT: The token clueless guy protagonist/victim's foil stems from debilitating innocence/ignorance rather than actual stupidity, cowardice, or rage inducing incompetence. Basically a Takabou-type which is my favorite kind of guy to root for.

3. A character whose tsundere trait is used to drive character growth as opposed to a source of pointless abuse for no reason (also getting Utsumi vibes here from Haruka's performance...). Cathartic release after watching too many shitty tsundere shows where the writers appear to have forgotten about the "dere" part.

4. Occasional interesting fighting/beatdown scenes to separate the slapstick harem stuff.

Posted by Paranda at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2008

Some photos taken over Animelo weekend


Ikebukuro. This will be home for the duration of the trip to Japan.


There is lots to see and do. But since this is a Momoist/otaku blog, let's just skip all the other touristy stuff I did and get to the substance...


animate! 9 floors of stuff. Took a good 4-5 hours to look through it all.


k-books (lots of good used stuff and comiket items)


Only bought a few things...spent conservatively since if I want to waste money on things that should never see the light of day, there was still all of Akihabara and Nakano Broadway.


Spotted while heading toward Animelo on 8/30.


Was so excited to be walking toward Saitama Super Arena


The Arena.


Merchandise tables. Combo sets and wristbands were sold out unfortunately by the time I got there. Picked up 2 shirts, towels, and pamphlet.


Outside map. Momoists set up camp in the marked area the next day.


Crowd began to swell as time got closer.


Had a blast at the concert. Jaw dropped when trying to find the number marked on the ticket and then the realization they were direct stage-side seats. Damn this thing was long. A great time was had, but I learned my lesson this time. 2 ultra oranges, 2 pinks, and 2 neon sticks is NOT ENOUGH. Wanted to UO on so many good acts but blew my entire stash right out the door with Yukari.


Goods obtained from the concert. Managed to catch a streamer that got shot out of the cannon during the encore. Since the thing was right next to me, when it went off I thought something exploded and nearly ducked for cover.

8/31

Posing with another Momoist.


Huge group of Momoists hanging out in the lower food court while waiting for seating to open. It was the same reliable group that has been to every concert I've ever seen so far. They came from all over. Some big trips to see Momoi include travellers from Osaka, Aomori (8 hrs by train), and even Korea.


T-shirt present for Momoi. Everybody included their own personal message. Takayama Saki (actress of Momoi from Haruko Update) was also attending Animelo to support Momoi and showed up to sign the shirt and say hello to Momoists.


These seats were actually pretty good and you could get a clear view of the performers as well as the entire arena. The "not as lucky" comparison is only relative to day 1, but otherwise it was awesome.


Lesson learned from day 1: stock glowsticks!!! Used up 15 ultra oranges, 6 ultra pinks, 2 ultra greens, 4 red and blue glowing bracelets, and fully drained 6 AAA batteries for neon red and neon blue light sticks.


Picked up 2 MOSAIC.WAV shirts along the way.

Still in Japan right now this is concise to save time. If you want to see parts of day 2 including Momoi you can probably find some recorded segments on Nico or Youtube although I won't bother posting the links since they will be constantly deleted/reuploaded. Also consider visiting seiyuu3 for a more detailed description of other artist acts.

Visited Akiba and a few other famous Momoi spots and specific stores/buildings thanks to a local fan who took a full day off to play ad-hoc tour guide. Maybe will visit more Momoists in Kyoto and we have a Suara concert to go see on Saturday. Let's see how it goes.

Posted by Paranda at 11:35 AM | Comments (3)

May 3, 2007

Spring 2007 Anime, part 3

Pass:

Seto no Hanayome - A Momoi show that is pretty good. Momoi is pretty much in every scene, and heavily featured as both a character and as a musician (presence detected from OP to BGM). Yakuza comedies have been overdone for me, but characters like "Shark" actually being a shark and other simple gags are just incredibly funny to me. Not as funny as Nagasarete, but Momoi more than makes up for it.

Toward the Terra - Simply awesome. Post-apocalyptic utopia with a terrible catch? No matter how many times I've seen that formula, it never gets old. This show is filled with amazing imagery, awesome revelations, firefights, and suspense. The mood and themes are just right, and it manages to provide entertainment without being too preachy about its social theories. The protagonist is a bit angsty, but thanks to the great pacing of this show, he pretty much gets over his requisite "woe is me" phase in just one episode. A LOT HAPPENS in every single episode of this show, and it might tie up Claymore as my favorite series this season.

Heroic Age - PASS PASS PASS PASS PASS!!! Apotheosis now! Basic premise: The Heroic Tribe is basically a god race that owned the universe before they got annihilated by a higher power for being way too strong. The last remaining survivors were sealed into stones and made subserviant to the weaker races in the universe. Humans, initially the weakest race (having lost their home planet to other humanoid aliens known as the Silver tribe), received the strongest strongest servant, and under an extreme galactic version of manifest destiny codified as the Twelve Labors, are now on a mission to take back their home and destroy all other races. Drama, betrayal, politics! It's StarCraft, EV Nova, and mythology mixed together. Bronze tribe is clearly derived from the Kryptos ships. Also, KUGIMIYA RIE.

Kaze no Stigma - 2 episodes in. Bad-ass main character who can kill the shit out of everything after a mere 4 years of contracts/training. Everything is cool so far. So how does an insanely strong wind mage escape his annoying pursuer? Slice a hotel in half and drop the entire top half onto her (actually he was framed for this, but still...).

Shining Tears X Wind - Moved from undecided to pass because the pacing is quite good. The story seems kind of standard, but it moves pretty quickly. Also, machine-gun sword is hilarious.

Bokurano
sola
Hayate no Gotoku!
Idolmaster Xenoglossia
Claymore
Nanoha StrikerS
Nagasarete Airantou

Undecided:
Hitohira

Dropped:
Kamichama Karin
Lucky Star

Pending:
Victorian Romance Emma season 2

Posted by Paranda at 8:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2007

Spring 2007 Anime, part 2

Pass:

Bokurano - The first thing I like about Bokurano: The OP. Second thing; Introductory monologue. Third thing: a huge cast of characters from varied family backgrounds, and serious analysis of motivations and social views. Hmm...so 3 things I like within 5 minutes of the show starting. And knowing this will turn out as some messed up Ender's Game/Lord Of The Flies thing later? Yeah I'll watch this. No doubt.

sola - I think I liked this show just from watching the first five minutes, where basically a guy bikes around in the dark accompanied by soft vocals and piano. I was kind of disappointed afterwards when I learned this wasn't going to be another ARIA, but after two episodes, I decided to stick with it anyway. The overall premise at least seems mildly interesting, even if I am not too fond of the characters (they are horribly unoriginal, and not in an ironic way). But, I do like the style and pacing so far, plus the cast is good enough to warrant a longer look. I'm not a huge Noto fanboy though - I admire her ability, but don't think she was the right voice for this character.

Hayate no Gotoku! - This turned out to be pretty funny after all. Moved from Undecided to Pass
Idolmaster Xenoglossia - Nothing spectacular but it has managed to hold my interest enough to get a pass.

Claymore - This couldn't possibly get any better. Still favorite show this season.
Nanoha StrikerS - Needs more violence!
Nagasarete Airantou - This is secretly Looney Tunes, but with anime girls.

Undecided:

Hitohira - Overall I enjoyed it. The setup is pretty nice: a girl with severe social anxiety is coerced by a bunch of upperclassmen into a drama club, and now she must confront her debilitating stage fright. The various characters are also fun, so I'll probably be watching this series all the way through. It's a good chance to see what a fresh name like Orie can do, plus I haven't heard Hikami Kyoko do anything in a long time.

Shining Tears X Wind - First impressions are not too good. Nothing in the first episode made any sense, and the characters aren't likeable at all. This show is an example of how not to make an anime based on RPG. Aside from Tony designs, and some famous voices, there's no reason to watch this. Unfortunately for this show, all my favorite seiyuu are already present in other shows this season so I already have my fix. If the next episode doesn't improve, this is dropped.

Dropped:

Kamichama Karin - Second dropped series of the season. Well I gave Kamichama Karin the benefit of the doubt after episode one, but after episode two, I can just safely say this show flat out fucking sucks. The story is shit, the characters are shit, the pacing is shit, the voices are shit. It took two full episodes for Karin to transform into a God, and her ultimate power manifests itself as a dress and a glowing ball that gets shot at a static target. Even Maitan couldn't save this travesty, and Sawashiro's horrible attempts at doing a "cool guy" voice only irritated me further. Koge Donbo is a Harry Potter obsessed no-talent hack and this show destroyed any respect I still had for her left over from early Di Gi Charat 4-koma strips. It makes me ashamed that I even watched one episode of this. This series is on par with crappy fanfiction written by an elementary school girl.

Lucky Star

Pending:
Seto no Hanayome
Kaze no Stigma
Toward the Terra
Heroic Age

Posted by Paranda at 9:08 AM | Comments (2)

April 11, 2007

Spring 2007 Anime

Time to assess some of this season's new lineup. In order from most favorite to least favorite.

Pass:

Claymore - This fantastic show seems to be my favorite so far. It has everything that I like: big swords, fantasy, demons, and especially superstrong oneechans voiced by Kuwashima Houko.

Nanoha StrikerS - A nice combination of famous seiyuu and what amounts to the techno-magic version of DBZ. Plus it has the coolness quota filled by Fate, cuteness quota filled by Reinforce Zwei.

Nagasarete Airantou - More seiyuu stuff that I need to watch. As for harem series, generally the crazier it gets the better, and this is pretty out there. In general, it is amusing although it abuses nosebleed gags way too much. Those haven't been funny for years, possibly never.

Undecided:

Idolmaster Xenoglossia - Initially I was skeptical about the mecha, but after watching the first half of the episode, I realized that if this had been another typical idol show, I'd have dropped it right away - because the first half was boring as shit. Watching Lovely Idol and Lovegechu caused me to burn out on idol shows, so the added mecha element was probably necessary. Which turned out to be right since the second half was kind of interesting. This also gets the three episode test.

Hayate no Gotoku! - I'm not really into this stuff, but Kugimiya+Shiraishi lead, KOTOKO OP, and a bunch of references force me to keep this in consideration. Will get the three episode test. As much as it pains me to drop a Kugimiya show, I suspect it will not pass, but I MUST HAVE HOPE.

Kamichama Karin - I don't really like the characters (the guy is an ass, and I don't consider his actions at the end enough for redemption unless he fucking apologizes for that cat comment), and I'm also getting bored with Koge's art. But, I like Maitan, and "playing God" series, so I'll watch just one more episode before deciding.

Dropped:

Lucky Star - First dropped show of the season. I enjoyed playing the DS game, but the show just didn't appeal to me. There's too much talking and the cast isn't strong enough to back up watching this for even seiyuu reasons. They should just scrap Lucky Star and make a Lucky Channel spinoff.

Pending (haven't watched, but want to):
Seto no Hanayome
Sola
Bokurano
Toward the Terra
Shining Tears
Hitohira
Kaze no Stigma

Posted by Paranda at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

April 5, 2007

Reinforce Zwei

Cute. Yukana is OK in my book.

I love the way she says Zwei.

But...Subaru~~~~

Oh..Saito Chiwa, can I love you any more?

I am not coherent today.

It is because Nanoha Strikers.

The happiness.

Posted by Paranda at 4:44 PM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2006

Lovedol episode 5

Even after looping the OP/ED themes non-stop since they came out, I found I still couldn't resist watching it all for episode 5. What tremendous power. Also, Sakaki is very cute in this episode.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Judging by the background song, this episode looks like it will be centered around the cat-like Miu. Things kick off when Tomohiro announces that Sayuki, one of the talents he used to manage, has given the idols an opportunity to appear in an advertisement for lotion. They all feel this is a good way to gain exposure and head for the filming location, which is a beach.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Why a beach of all places? I think it is now pretty obvious where this episode is headed.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
The idols change into swimsuits to shoot the commercial and show off a bit until Ruri steals everyone's attention with a sukumizu. Ruri is definitely the smart one.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
The group first watches Sayuki do some solo parts. After the shoot, Tomohiro has a little chat with her and congratulates her on her work. Like every older talent who has appeared in the show so far, during the conversation Sayuki hints an affection for her old manager. Perhaps Tomohiro's grin is one of satisfaction? Alas we know better. When asked by Saiyuki if he has forgotten anything "extra" to say to her, despite all the eye-batting, the deep stare of lust, the anticipation in her breathing, this stupid ass blurts out "Oh yeah, I forgot to say thanks for inviting my idols." Behold the face of a man who has just missed the blatant advances of one of Japan's top models. Saiyuki storms off in disappointment, leaving Tomohiro clueless about what just happened.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Meanwhile, the idols are facing problems of their own. Sakaki doesn't perform well at all under the stare of the camera and crew and trips up under the pressure. It seems she is very uncomfortable with the whole situation.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
On the other side of the spectrum, the exciteable Miu, though very good at dancing, gets a little too caught up in the moment. The other girls find it impossible to keep up with Miu, who deviates from the choreographed steps and jumps into her own passionate routine. Things go so wrong that the director cancels the shoot and orders them off.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Tomohiro apologizes but says because they weren't able to coordinate themselves, they will not be able to appear in the commercial after all. Saiyuki will have to shoot the commercial alone.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
The idols watch in sadness as the shoot progresses without them. After things wrap up, Saiyuki, probably feeling guilty about taking her anger for Tomohiro's ignorance out on the talent, requests for one last take with them.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
The director concedes, and orders her hyperthermia-afflicted assistant to help them get their choreography right. They have one hour to prepare. Highly appreciative of Saiyuki and the director's grace, everyone is determined to do things right this time. Miu notices that Sakaki is acting very awkwardly (but cutely IMO) and confronts her.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Sakaki reveals that although she doesn't have a big problem with singing, she is very shy in front of people when it comes to dancing, especially in a swimsuit. It's something she simply can't do in front of others (hmm then how did she do that in episode 3?). However, Ruri tells her she feels a little shy too, but it's important for everyone to dance together as a single unit, and no matter how embarrased she might be, everyone is supporting her. After receiving some tips on dealing with stage performance, eventually she says she thinks she can overcome this shyness, but there's one more problem. Miu's steps are too difficult for her.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Miu realizes what Sakaki is getting at, plus after seeing what everyone said to Sakaki about group unity, she realizes it was wrong for her to leave her team so far behind while dancing. She apologizes for her actions and promises this time she'll make sure to stay at the pace of the group. The team is able to agree on working together as one functioning unit. Lurking in the back, Tomohiro is satisfied to see they have learned this important lesson and thanks Saiyuki for helping again. For the second time, Saiyuki hints that she would like to hear something else, and for the second time, Tomohiro fails..

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Having learned the importance of unity, everyone works hard for their final opportunity. It turns out to be a success.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
As they celebrate the last shot of the day and prepare to go home, Saiyuki tries one last time to get Tomohiro to say a certain something. Tomohiro seems to FINALLY catch on that she's fishing for a certain statement out of him, but before he can say anything, he enjoys a faceful of dirt courtesy of Saiyuki's current manager, his older sister. As Saiyuki is herded away, she wonders to herself sadly why he couldn't just call her cute. Oh Tomohiro how many hearts must you break?

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
A few days later, the girls receive a copy of the advertisement they all worked so hard on. In a deliciously funny twist, after seeing all the effort they put into doing the commercial, they find that after the editing process, they only appear for about two seconds at the end, in the far background behind a bottle. It's a rough world in showbusiness.

Posted by Paranda at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2006

Lovedol episode 4

Surprise, another update! Instead of doing something useful like study for my midterm, I've decided to do something completely useless like watch Lovely Idol 4 instead. This show is slowly corrupting me. I started watching this thing primarily as a Momoi fan but even though she barely gets any lines, I still find myself glued to this series. After bashing the OP in my episode 1 post, now I'm unable to skip it. I watch through everything start to finish and enjoy it, looped animation and all. It seems every week I am looking forward to the next episode more and more. The further I disparage it the stronger my urge is to watch. Oh what's going on??

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
And it is: Episode 4 is a Ruri episode! This is good because pending Mai's story arc, the cheerful and clever Ruri has pretty much become my favorite character. As I've mentioned during my Canvas 2 rants, historically I've hated the "oniichan's girl" angle when played up to ridiculous levels, although recently with Maika and Ruri I'm starting to worry if I've been covertly infected by the dreaded siscon (No, it's just the seiyuu. Really!). Anyway, Ruri shows up unannounced during a meeting between Tomohiro and some director. Ruri claims she showed up with an umbrella because the weather forecast predicted rain, but in a clearly calculated move, she only brought a single set so they have to walk together. Tomohiro doesn't react kindly to this of course, because he's a big jerk >:(..

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
The director invites them to go watch a recording session for a CD drama based on some magical girl show. The offer is further extended when they decide to bring everyone next time for a group learning experience. The group gets very excited about the possibility that they might have a chance to dub some lines. They rehearse the script together for a while. Ruri says she really would love to do the voice for the dog. Everyone thinks she is joking, but Ruri says she believes in the importance of the character and it turns out, she plays the character very well. During the rehearsal everyone is impressed by her "wau wau." Ruri's character song plays in the background during this scene, and Sakai Kanako does a pretty good job of singing the whole thing in Ruri's voice without sounding unnatural.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Yet behind all the laughs, not all is well. There are some hints that Ruri is holding back her ambitions for her brother. Tomohiro, not being completely blind picks up on this, but then proceeds to do nothing about it. The next day, he comes down with a bad cold, clearly karma for being so inconsiderate. But now he can't take the idols to the recording session! What to do?

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
No matter, Ruri declares herself the manager for the day and takes the group anyway. Big sister manager (I still haven't caught her name) has some harsh words for the sick Tomohiro, but Ruri defends him to the death. The manager says Ruri is still acting childish and the two get into an argument. Friction flares up as the idols take their seats for the recording.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
One of the actors Yukimi shows off several moe voice variation while reading the lines. However, the idols notice a bit of a problem: nothing she's saying is on their scripts. It turns out Ruri got the wrong script book. Sufficiently embarassed, Ruri becomes a lot more docile. It seems big sister was right about her. More and more people start to notice Ruri hiding her feelings.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Eventually the idols chance to do some acting comes. They are requested to record the voice for the dog, the one role Ruri really wanted to do. Surprisingly, she refuses saying she must attend to her manager duties. The rest of the idols give lackluster performances, especially Miu (now established by this and the last episode to be the stupid one in the group) who makes a cat sound instead.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Big sister senses decides she needs to take action, so she decides to drill her with a bit of tough love. Much insulting later, Ruri decides she's going to try out after all. Looks like big sis was looking out for her best interests after all. Immediately after, Tomohiro rushes to the door, only to get leg barred for having such horrible timing.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
The recording is a success. Everyone is stunned by Ruri's perfect sound effect and she gets cheers all around. At the end of the day, Tomohiro shows that despite his incompetence in all areas, he retains the uncanny ability to make his former idols really really like him. Just like the idol we saw in episode 2, this girl really cares about him too. Yukimi here was waiting for him to show up the whole time, and she does a cute routine with the stuffed doll asking him not to forget about her.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
After this, Ruri and Tomohiro go home together. Ruri announces she will no longer aim to be a manager and that she will follow her desires to be an idol instead. They agree this is the best decision. Don't worry, the screenshot isn't what it looks like.

Posted by Paranda at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2006

Lovedol episode 3

Boy these posts just keep getting later and later don't they? Pretty soon there will be no point to do this at all since the english fansubs will have caught up to me.

Screencaps and summary follow. I'm going to try this "thumbnailing with links to full images" thing that everyone else seems to do, since the old way created unbearably long pages with lots of vertical scrolling.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Ruri, having spoken directly to the president, is now part of the team. Despite being completely ignorant of her abilities (no audition, no compatibility interviews, etc.) the members are quick to accept her for some silly reason: she had the courage to confront someone like the company president directly. They celebrate a bit before discussing their next step on how to eventually debut.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Ruri asks everyone about their ambitions. Most of them have no real goal so the answers are pretty vague. They just want to be idols through whatever means necessary. Hina's motivation has a little more substance, since she's fueled by a burning desire to be on the same stage as the "oneesama" she admires to an obsessive level. Ruri herself says she wants to help her brother by being a manager, which everyone finds a little strange. Meanwhile, Sakaki broods over the previous day's events in her large single room in downtown Tokyo that she pays for with her lucrative job playing guitar for pocket change. Tomohiro's words had a large impact on her emotions, and she is struggling over whether or not to take him up on his offer. The next day, Tomohiro and Hina meet at a cafe with Chocolat, a pair of older (fake twin?) idols that Hina highly respects.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Everyone tags along with Hina to the cafe, doing various embarassing things such as ordering the entire stock of cake, or in Miu's case, showing an inability to grasp the difference between "shitsuji" (butler) and "hitsuji" (sheep). Near the end of the conversation, Chocolat says they will be holding a "Secret Live" event later that night, and Tomohiro requests that the third generation girls come as observers. Elsewhere,, Sakaki is still thinking hard over her options and staring at Tomohiro's business card. IS SHE READY TO JOIN?

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
NO! TRASHED! One of Sakaki's many talents aside from singing is the ability to crumple tiny business cards into a ball almost the same size! But when it seems like she's mader her decision and all is lost, Sakaki opens the tote bag she received in episode 2 to find: tickets to the the live Chocolat concert! Waitaminute, didn't Tomohiro just find out about that concert from those girls a few minutes ago? I guess we can't let a silly thing like continuity get in the way.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Ah but disaster strikes at the concert site. Miss Super Experienced Manager, who was revealed this episode as Tomohiro's older sister (or maybe he was just saying that as a sign of respect so she wouldn't practice any more wrestling moves on him), has forgotten the maid costumes. There isn't enough time to run back and get everything ready before the concert starts, so quickly a substitute plan is hatched. The 3rd generation idols will do a bit of singing while Chocolat waits for their butler to race back and get the costumes. Surely these hardcore otaku won't notice the difference.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
But they're still incomplete with only five people. Tomohiro realizes he must go out and find Sakaki. The look of determination on his face suggests he would not be above using force, however illegal, if necessary. Conveniently, Sakaki saves herself an abudction as she has also decided to come see this concert.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
Without a missing a beat, the six girls are rushed on stage in front of a cynical Moe T-shirt wearing crowd to perform "LoveLoveLove no Sei na no yo," which happens to be the ending theme to this show. Impressively, the episode has a separate concert version for this scene instead of just being lazy and resampling the ED theme. The nerds react to this bait & switch with initial scorn, but warm up to the performance within moments. By the end of the song, everyone is cheering. In addition to card crumpling, another one of Sakaki's many talents is magically knowing all the words and dance moves to a song she has never heard or practiced in her life.

Lovedol screencapLovedol screencapLovedol screencap
They manage to impress the fans so much that even after Chocolat returned with their costumes and took over, the group was invited back to meet with the audience. Sakaki is a little confused by the welcoming arms of her peers but she accepts, thereby implicitly joining the group. As they leave for the stage, Ruri sticks her head back in and cheerfully beams "Now we have six."

This episode was kind of stupid just because of all the plot holes with Sakaki. Is this supposed to be the resolution or something? We didn't find out at all what the heck was making her hate singing so much, or why she overcame it so quickly. So she had a good feeling while singing on stage with the other girls...hey, who cares if you were just randomly pulled into a performance right after being invited as an attendee right? Absolutely NO suspicions at all directed to the manager who was trying to recruit you for weeks? OK Sakaki. I suppose the upside is we now get to see the smiling Sakaki promised to us in the OP/ED instead of the moody gloomy one. It's still a shame we didn't get to see more to her personality. What was supposed to be her big turning point lasted about 2 seconds and one line of monologue from Sakunyan. Next episode is hopefully better.

Posted by Paranda at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2006

Lovedol episode 2

This is a bit late since I had a project due over the weekend, but I finally watched episode 2. Lovedol isn't so bad when it doesn't have 10 minute pans of pointless idol characters. I had fun this time, although there wasn't nearly enough Momoi. And surprisingly...Sakai Kanako. She has done so well in this episode and the last episode I can't help myself...I'm starting to REALLY like her voice now. I still don't recommend it yet though, unless you're a voice fan. There are plenty of better shows to waste time on, such as Kanon or Deathnote or hell, even Happiness! (Yui-nyan ahhhhh).

Anyway, Lovedol is now being subbed by a group called WinD. They've done a pretty good job on the first episode, so that is a good option if you ever feel like you need to shorten your life a little by watching this show.

Screencaps and summary follows:

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Lovedol 2 screencaps
Episode 2 starts off with Tomohiro agonizing over Mizuki's rejection of his idol offer. Well what's the logical thing to do when the talent you're trying to scout ignores you? Follow her around and take photos of her of course. Stalking is a form of flattery you know. Ruri is keeping him company yet somehow unaware of how creepy this is. I have to mention her though, because usually I'm not a big fan of this kind of character, yet I can't help liking her a lot. It must be Sakai Kanako. She has really been impressing me with her role in this show now. She steals every scene she's in, which I'd say is pretty good for a newbie like her when going against the rest of this cast.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Although he is getting frustrated with his constant failures, whenever he watches the idols pratice so hard yet remain unable to debut, the guilt of his inability reinvigorates his will to pursue Mizuki.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Naturally, this leads to more tension. There are some songs sung by Mizuki again...very nice songs. Nogawa is a strong singer, and has been the only one with the opportunity to show this off so far.

Although Mizuki tries to ignore Tomohiro at first, he stalks her everywhere. Mizuki gets fed up with the unwanted attention and she finally speaks back to him with some harsh words. It turns out she doesn't think too highly of the idol business. Even though Tomohiro claims he wants to show her music to the world, she believes the recording industry is motivated only by greed and just wants to sell CDs and make money.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Tomohiro can't take a hint. He still follows her around. How does he get away with this? ARREST THAT MAN OFFICER!

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Now even the ever-tolerant Ruri is worried about his obsessive behavior.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Tomohiro realizes he probably isn't going to make any progress doing what he's doing, so he calls in a friend for guidance.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
It turns out this friend is actually Yuuki Touko (Kuwatani Natsuko) in disguise. Touko is a successful idol that he used to manage. Although she is pretty famous now, it seems she still remembers Tomohiro very fondly and is flattered that he called her for a meeting.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Meanwhile, the idol-eggs, having also sensed Tomohiro's distress in the past few days, decide they should take things into their own hands. They hatch a plan in the shower to make friends with Mizuki so that she might join them more easily.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
But they each fail just as miserably. Not one of them has ever heard of the art of subtlety it seems. There is a fun scene here where Minorin shows her wilder voice as she forgets her primary mission and just rants on about her oneesama.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
In the end, they get caught by Tomohiro and abort the plan. Touko is a little disappointed when she finds out Tomohiro only met with her because he wants to hear her opinion on Mizuki (it seems like she likes him very much and was hoping for the reason to be a bit more scandalous). She recalls her own start as an idol. Although her mother was also an idol, Tomohiro did not become her manager for this reason. He felt she had conveyed her own sense of personality and he wanted to help her prove she was her own person - a legitimate idol not just because her mother was an idol. Through this discussion, Tomohiro realizes he was looking at Mizuki's situation a little too naively. Mizuki claimed she hated singing, but she also had something hidden she badly wanted to show through her singing. She wanted to be heard.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Before they can discuss any further, Touko's current manager barges in, breaks up the meeting, and shoos everyone home. When asked how she discovered their location, she responds that she keeps very close tabs on Touko and knows her movements at all times. Looks like Touko is kept on a leash by that woman. Before leaving, Touko tells Tomohiro again that he can call her for a favor at any time.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Armed with a new outlook, Tomohiro tries again to talk to Mizuki. Only this time, instead of trying to recruit her, he tells a story about himself and how he was tricked into being a manager by his sister. Yet after it was too late, he realized he did not regret it one bit. hile he had no talent himself, he could bring out the talent of others and share it with the world. From the looks of it, he has many many successes in this regard.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
Tomohiro says he's not just interested in signing her to a label. He became a manager because he really wants to help people, and this time he wants to help her. He knows through her singing that she has a hatred in her heart, and while he doesn't know what it is, he wants to help share her burden and get rid of this so she can sing without it.

Lovedol 2 screencaps
This time, Mizuki actually smiles. She says Tomohiro is an interesting person, and the first manager to act differently from the others. Step one has been completed. Later at the studio, the president announces a new addition to the third generation group. Everyone thinks perhaps it is Mizuki...

Lovedol 2 screencaps
but surprise, it's RURI! Ahhh...I love Ruri.

And that's the end of episode 2. I'm going to mention something that I hadn't yet realized back when I wrote the summary for episode 1: Nakahara Mai's singing in this is ridiculously good, possibly even beating out Nogawa. That's how good it is. This is especially surprising to me because Mai-tan's singing has been okayish for most other releases. Her last full length album was kind of a disappointment, and especially more of a disappointment now that I've heard her short solo in this. I previously only ordered Momoi's Lovedol character CD, but damn if Mai is going to sound like this I might have to get her's also.

Posted by Paranda at 7:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 8, 2006

Lovedol episode 1

Oh yes, it's finally out. And yes it's pretty bad. Luckily, I've insulated myself by lowering my standards specifically for this show, and now that I'm done putting myself at the mercy of episode one, I'll pre-emptively say that despite its horrible animation budget and disappointing start, the show may prove to be "watchable" at the very least. However, my specific recommendation: skip episode one and just read this summary. I'll let you know when it's safe to come out.

Next, screencaps and commentary:
Lovedol screencaps
It is immediately obvious that the animation for this series is incredibly low budget. As you may have read on seiyuu3, they did indeed reuse animation for the opening scene, and it's so horribly obvious in length and execution that anyone would have noticed it. It's a bad way to start a series, but let's face it..nobody who's watching this thing wasn't already planning to watch it solely for voice acting from the start. When you bill it under a cast like this, the need for making a good first impression on animation quality goes out the window. Still, I wish they had gone the route of some shows by simply discarding the opening for the first episode altogether until they could scramble enough scenes together to make a clip-based opener fused with what they had here. Oh well, at least what little was animated was kind of cute and..um...the lack of any sort of moving background means it's potentially good gif material? No probably not.

Lovedol screencaps
By the way, the OP theme by Nogawa Sakura is disappointing. I have no complaints with her singing itself and the tune is fairly catchy, but it's overly simple, as if the composer threw all the notes together on a pad in under five minutes and then hired a student arranger. I suppose I was hoping for something of perhaps.."Motto" quality? This sure ain't Magikano.

Lovedol screencaps
Lovedol screencaps
Anyway, it only gets worse, not better. The first ten minutes of the show actually consists of 90% still images slowly panned from left to right behind a "digitize" filter and laboriously introduces us to each of the twelve pre-existing idols. Yes, you will slowly pan through three or four images of every single girl shown on stage here. Considering the show isn't even about them, the amount of time dedicated to doing this is absurd. Interestingly, the song they sang here in my opinion was actually better than the OP. Sadly, there wasn't nearly enough of it to offset the sheer boringness of waiting the scene out.

Lovedol screencaps
After that mighty test of patience, one of the idols Yui (voiced by Nogawa) announces to the fans that she has some important news...

The debut of four new idols, in order of appearance

Lovedol screencaps
GOTO YUKO! Oops, I mean Nekoya Miu. She likes making cat sounds and pawing. Goto's voice here is pretty good.

Lovedol screencaps
MOMOI HALKO!!! er...Nonomiya Mai. She has way too few lines to get any sort of analysis going on yet, but I must do my duty as a Momoist and use what I can. She sounds a little stiff, but I think that is intentional. Mai seems like a cynical character who makes blunt observations. will be interesting hearing Momoi play a stoic role like this. Her episode will come...and I can't wait.

Lovedol screencaps
CHIHARA MINORI! Um...Hojo Hina. Boy she sure is quiet. Minorin is using her soft voice.

Lovedol screencaps
NAKAHARA MAI! No, Kiryu Kotoha, another quiet girl. Mai-tan sounds pretty standard here but that's ok, I love her voice in any state.

Lovedol screencaps
So what's the announcement? Well girls, your big debut has just been postponed :V

Lovedol screencaps
The manager, who also organized the last 2 generations of idols for his company Sweetfish Productions, realizes he just got screwed and hurries to demand an explanation from the president. Apparently she feels the idol group is still lacking something, but, in a typical "I'm much better than you" fashion, allows him to go figure that part out himself.

Lovedol screencaps
Of course, manager Fujisawa Tomohiro here has absolutely no idea what it is. The president has conveniently sped away in her black car to let him alone crush the dreams of his lovely idols.

Lovedol screencaps
The next day, Tomohiro thinks about the president's words before he is interrupted by his little sister Ruri (voice by Sakai Kanako). Ruri is quite a cheerful personality, and Sakai Kanako is surprisingly good at bringing this out. I liked her so much, this scene was actually fun to watch. Some people have applied the "oniichan complex" to her but I don't think that's the case based on what I've seen. Acually Minorin's character Hina is probably one with the oneesama complex.

Lovedol screencaps
Ruri ventures an insightful guess that since all the past generations of idols had six people, the third generation still needs to find two more girls before it can be considered complete. Tomohiro dismisses this theory, but Ruri, always looking out for her big brother, secretly heads out to the agency to meet with the president later presumably to sign up as the fifth person.

Lovedol screencaps
After meeting with his idols for the day at practice, while heading home from the studio Tomohiro sees a girl (Sakaki Mizuki, voiced also by Nogawa) walking by while humming to herself. She sets up shop on a street corner and sings some more. Nogawa performs both tunes pretty well, and this is when I realize happily there is probably going to be a lot of singing in this show. After she's finished, Tomohiro in a decidely creepy stalkerish way, follows her into a park and confronts her. He says she has potential and asks if she would like to sign under his company. Little did he know, Sakaki is very EMO and has issues.

Lovedol screencaps
"I hate singing." Offer refused.

And there's our cliffhanger. Six girls who will become the next generation of Lovedols. So...pretty bad right? Well here's what made up for the whole damn episode:
Lovedol screencaps
No I don't mean "the ending" as in "har har, it's over." THIS should have been the OP dammit. The theme is catchy as hell, and there was actually some animation going on. Someone must have gotten them switched up! It makes me happy that this is the song they've chosen to cover on all of the character CDs. No wonder. If you missed the link to the OP, here it is again, it also contains the ED so you can compare. http://www.avexmovie.jp/lineup/lovedol/song.html

Next episode previews has a pretty nice sounding line from Momoi, but it looks like there may be some fan service which is good or bad depending on your viewpoint.

Final Impressions: Episode 1 is junk, but as a series, it has potential to go somewhere. Maybe nowhere high, but probably on the level of an average anime based on an erogame or something similar. I've definitely seen better, but I've also seen worse. Plus if you're into these particular seiyuu, you'll probably at least enjoy it for the songs they seem to throw in randomly. That's our security blanket we can use when/if this show crashes and burns (then again it is possible to just wait for the character CDs to come out without watching the show). I wouldn't admit to watching it in real life that's for sure.

Posted by Paranda at 6:29 AM | Comments (2)

September 27, 2006

What a surprise, Lovedol is bad (DAMMIT)

lovedolphotoop.jpgInitial reviews of Lovedol have started coming in from various places after Enterbrain sponsored a screening event 3 days ago. Not surprisingly, reactions to the first episode were largely negative with asopaso describing it as horribly disappointing and seiyuu3 calling it "cringe inducing." Reactions to the live event itself however were mostly positive. A series whose primary substance is in actress events? If this show isn't a textbook definition of seiyuu vehicle, I don't know what is. Still, I had been naively hoping it would somehow be good, just because the permanent scars from Eiken serve as a reminder to me of what can happen when trying to endure torture for mere voice acting. Those hopes were significantly diminished, so come October 2nd, it's time to buckle down and take my pills.

According to asopaso, Momoi, as usual in her efforts to be insane, thought it was a good idea to cosplay as Nonomiya Mai. Based on the image (from ATV, see also "Moe wa Rock da") I think she was the only one in cosplay that day. Perhaps this was among the factors that contributed to seiyuu3's analysis that Momoi seemed to not fit in with the others, although I believe I have read elsewhere that Momoi and Nogawa are quite good friends, plus everyone there with the exception of Minorin and Goto (I'm not going to call her Gotu-za sama because it looks really retarded to actually write it out in romanji) worked together on Magikano less than a year before. So I'd probably just attribute her aloofness, if not imaginary, to her being incredibly burned out by other promotions lately.

Interestingly, more than once on the internet, Goto Yuko was called out for being especially witty at this event. Goto struck me as being pretty good at this sort of thing ever since she recorded that fan video for the Shuffle event, so now I really want to see what she said here. Another nice discovery on the net was that Kuwatani Natsuko and Kugimiya Rie were members of the second generation Lovedol. Suddenly I have a strong interest in digging for it.

Posted by Paranda at 12:17 PM | Comments (1)

September 20, 2006

Yuki Nyan Dance

Doing some Yuki-inspired pixel animation because it's been way too long since I did any art. Minori's character seems like a good subject to do any sort of fan art on, and considering Harenchi Punch's PV just came out...well it all falls into place.

Here's the first frame so far of what will be Yuki doing a part of the Neko Nyan Dance.
yukinyan_frame1.png

This took a bit more work than expected, but I'm determined to finish... I've already drawn some basic sketches for the major frames, although they will be altered heavily during the pixel animation process for consistency. Final animation will look something like this, but more fluid:
animation sketches

Posted by Paranda at 11:31 PM | Comments (3)

September 1, 2006

Updated Seiyuu Standings for Fall

To help determine what's worth watching for the fall season, I've updated listings of my favorite (read: COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE. NO OBJECTIVE RANKING SYSTEM WHATSOEVER) VAs after taking Spring/Summer 2006 series into account. Big gainers are Nazuka Kaori for the final episodes of Eureka 7, Chihara Minori for Yuki character songs, Sakakibara Yui for MUSIC in my Heart, and Tamura Yukari (unseating Ohtani Ikue as #2 for the first time EVER) due to Cutie Cutie Concert 2005 DVD release.

RankNameRatingChange
1.Momoi HarukoN/AN/A
2.Tamura Yukari9.38+10
3.Ohtani Ikue9.29-1
4.Kawasumi Ayako9.00-1
4.Orikasa Fumiko9.00-1
6.Inoue Kikuko8.88-1
7.Nakahara Mai8.79+6
8.Horie Yui8.690
9.Nogawa Sakura8.64+7
10.Mizuki Nana8.56+9
11.Sakakibara Yui8.50N/A
12.Hisakawa Aya8.31-2
12.Itou Miki8.31-6
14.Itou Shizuka8.29-3
14.Kawakami Tomoko8.29-3
14.Nabatame Hitomi8.29-7
17.Kugimiya Rie8.210
18.Koyama Kimiko8.14-5
19.Chihara Minori8.00N/A
20.Nazuka Kaori7.71N/A

Posted by Paranda at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2006

Ayako Kawasumi announced as guest at Otakon 06

I now have a real good reason to go. A tier 1 seiyuu! Commence fanboy wanking...

As she is Navy-san. Fucking NAVY-SAN!

Oh and Mahoro, Saber, Yoshida, Ohno, and Sayuri and a bunch of other roles which were all good. We shall conveniently forget about the few shit ones because she is just that awesome to qualify for infinite pardons no matter how terrible the series.

Posted by Paranda at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2006

Suddenly, I realize I have migrated to the Elise camp.

HOW ON EARTH DID THIS HAPPEN? I THOUGHT I WAS PRO KIRI!?!?!? I DON'T UNDERSTAND MYSELF!

edit: post-2hour-calm-down-period-analysis: Color me shocked - Canvas 2, the series based on a goddamn porno game, has surprisingly good character development. I have actually turned against Kiri - her behavior these past few episodes has been childish and at times downright disgusting. She's really self-serving actually. And this wasn't a sudden turn that goes against all she's done previously either, in fact it was more like a bit by bit revelation that puts all of her actions in the past into a new perspective. Kiri is absolutely terrible and definitely the kind of girl who would charm her prey with her feminine wiles but pull a nasty 180 once she's enslaved him through marriage. If Hiroki goes this route, he's going to regret it at age 30. Elise on the other hand, has matured considerably since the first half of the series and is showing more aspects of her personality and worries. I think I can overlook this cousin incest now because she's really the better person when it comes down to it. Heck at this point, I'd rather have Kana win than Kiri.

Posted by Paranda at 3:45 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2006

I don't rank anime, I rank seiyuu

If you tend to watch more anime than is considered acceptable by society in general, you have probably created your own lists ranking your favorite shows. Similarly, I do the same thing, except with seiyuu. You could say I have more interest in voices than production quality when any given show is aired.

Today, I finished reviewing all the 2005 anime series that I planned to watch. Now I can post updated seiyuu rankings factoring in the new performances last year. These are descending order of quality. Keep in my that these are highly subjective, and I use a variety of arbitrary ranking criteria (see the excel spreadsheet if you are curious). Also note that being on the bottom of this list does not indicate poor performance, since I am after all ranking BEST 30 out of all voice actors I have heard. Names that are bolded did outstandingly well this year and will probably deserve some sort of additional feature writeup at a later time.

The list - top 30 female seiyuu, year end 2005:

01. Momoi Haruko
02. Ohtani Ikue
03. Kawasumi Ayako
04. Orikasa Fumiko
05. Inoue Kikuko
06. Itou Miki
07. Horie Yui
08. Nabatame Hitomi
09. Hisakawa Aya
10. Itou Shizuka
11. Koyama Kimiko
12. Tamura Yukari
13. Nogawa Sakura
14. Kugimiya Rie
15. Matsuoka Yuki
16. Mizuki Nana
17. Kawakami Tomoko
18. Minami Omi
19. Tokunaga Ai
20. Saito Chiwa
21. Yukino Satsuki
22. Nonaka Ai
23. Shimizu Ai
24. Kadowaki Mai
25. Arai Satomi
26. Ohara Sayaka
27. Hirohashi Ryou
28. Noda Junko
29. Kurata Masayo
30. Tanaka Rie

Posted by Paranda at 5:15 PM | Comments (1)

February 2, 2006

Binchotan is a show in which nothing happens

The first episode of Binchotan came out today. It was not what I expected at all. Think ARIA on depressants.. if ARIA put people to sleep, Binchotan will cause 30 year comas. In any case, it looks sort of interesting just because it's weird and cute. Screenshots below.

binchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshots Meet Binchotan, a tiny girl who lives all alone in the mountains.
binchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshots She's wears some sort of a charcoal brick on her head. Why, I'm not sure.
binchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshots In this episode, Binchotan crosses a lake. Ahhhh she's riding a duck! CUTE!!!.
binchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshots Aha. She wants to gather some grasses on the other side.
binchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshots Oh so the herbs were for cooking! But Binchotan is tired after a day of hiking, so it's time for a nap
binchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshotsbinchotan screenshots A good humble meal. Eat up Binchotan, tomorrow is another big day..involving fish strapped to air sails?

Episode summary? I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT HAPPENED BUT THAT WAS AWESOME.

Posted by Paranda at 8:37 PM | Comments (3)

January 26, 2006

ARIA is the best anime on TV right now.

After episode 12, I feel as if Aria would fit perfectly as the product of a future government's propaganda attempting to lure settlers to Mars and enslave them as laborers for the terraformation movement - because it's just that damn good. We viewers are used to sci-fi plots about utopian societies with dark sides, gone horribly wrong. Then there's Aria, which is just one big happy utopian society gone..well..incredibly right. So why not come to Aqua and spend your life building bridges or something for the advancement of humanity? I know I would.
Akari, Aika, Alice, Alicia

Posted by Paranda at 12:53 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2005

Rozen Maiden ~traumend~

I finally watched Rozen Maiden like I said I would, and now I'm moving on to season two and enjoying it immensely.

Hina Ichigo is an adorable darling:
Hina Ichigo chuuu

Posted by Paranda at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2005

To Heart 2

I am going to watch this because I watch shitty uninspired anime based off gal games and like it. Or, I am going to watch this because the PS2 OP is awesome.

Or, I should really be studying for my accounting midterm that I have in 15 minutes.
Funky Cat Maybe

Posted by Paranda at 7:45 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2005

Komugi is done.

Ugh two obituaries this week. Well this one is a little late, but I didn't check until today. This is because after watching Komugi Z episode 2, I had an uneasy feeling. That is...too much stuff happened. Closure stuff. It felt like a series finale. Sadly I was right.

Halko has confirmed that the Komugi series is done. Finished. There will be no more Komugi OVA, radio dramas, anything. She had fun with the series, and is now moving on. She also wrote about it on October 7th in momoi.com but I didn't want to believe it. Momoi tearMomoi tearMomoi tear

Komugi cast
Thanks for the good time.

Posted by Paranda at 12:58 AM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2005

Komugi Z needs to be subbed!

Since absolutely nobody in the world appears to be subbing Komugi Z, I decided to just cave in and watch the raw. They went to town on this one. Pokes fun at everything from fanboys to virus video games. There was also a hilarious gattai scene with copyrighted characters that were cleverly censored.
Koyori-chan backstoryKomugi Fanboys
I for one am glad to see this OVA picking up the pace again to match the hilarity of the original Komugi series after a somewhat dull first episode. More screens below.

Smelly otakuSmelly otaku
Hahaha, signing the shirt for a putrid otaku. Who then sniffs her signature.
Molesting otakuMolesting otakuMolesting otaku
What a horrible feeling to be an idol. The look of disgust is perfect.
Business manSM OtakuSM OtakuKomugi does what she can to please the fans. Here she is catering to the masochists.
SweatdropKomugi tiredDressing room
Indian guyKennyAnimator
Some more screens. Koyori unleashes virus on unsuspecting computer users. Oh look, it's Dokuro-chan!
Hungry manKyosuke and Komugi
Komugi's secret identity is revealed to Kyosuke.
I have no ideaKoyori PunchKermit?
The humor in the second screenshot is lost in image form.
Dumbo?Some girl who appears on Japanese snacks, I think? I don't really know.Combined formCombine!
Puyopuyo VirusEvil KomugisMoeee
I cannot stress the awesomeness of how Komugi defeats the Puyopuyo virii.
SweatdropSakura is mad.Bonus PointBona-su pointo.

Posted by Paranda at 1:34 AM | Comments (4)

October 6, 2005

Aria 1

Aria the animation has started airing in Japan. It is based on the manga created by Kozue Amano about a native Earth girl, Akari, who is starting a new life on Mars as a gondolier. Aria is one of my favorite manga, because it is just so laid back and all about enjoying new experiences. It also reads a lot like a travel guide for famous or unique areas in the world today. I am looking forward to seeing this show and how the directors can translate the calm and peaceful feeling of the manga to animation. I wonder if they'll keep all the cute super-deform moments.

Chiwa Saito and Tomoko Kawakami are also good reasons to watch this show.

Official Aria Website
Aria Company

Posted by Paranda at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2005

Komugi Z volume 2 now out

Yay. Random Momoi-Komugi cosplay picture party!
Komugi Cosplay 1Komugi Cosplay 2
Komugi Cosplay 3Komugi Cosplay 4
Komugi Cosplay 5Komugi Cosplay 6
This is a good week.

Posted by Paranda at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2005

TSUKUNE-CHANNNNNNNN

Tsukune-chan opening animation.
Because I just watched it, and I felt like making this gif.

Also, Momoi-san is getting lazy because Tsukune-chan sounds way too old at times. Compare with her Mii voicework in Popotan.

Posted by Paranda at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2005

Majokko Tsukune-chan Vol.1 out

Well there's some good news today.

The disembodied floating head of Tsukune-chanFirst things first: Majokko Tsukune-chan, volume 1 of an intended 6, is now on sale. The magical girl gag OVA from XEBEC, directed by Hiro Sakurai, stars our favorite voice actress in the leading role: Cute little Tsukune-chan. Story synopsis pending.

Momoi is also involved in the creation of the OVA's ending theme, hilariously titled "Frying Machine." You may download the mp3 here. Fellow Halko fan Longhorn has a nice promotional PV up on his site, so you may want to check that out.

Read more about this series and others at Starchild's website

Second bit of good news: The Bottle Fairy PC game, which we all heard about way back in March 2004, is finally announced to be released on September 9th, 2005. In this game, you basically play the role of sensei-san and bring the fairies with you on your shoulder/in your bag/up your ass while you work on daily mundane things and go places. Before you lose all faith in humanity, let me remind you it is NOT an H-game so there is no need to weep in the corner at the thought of your beloved Chiriri/Hororo being violated with Q-tips or anything like that. Heh. Too bad it costs a fucking fortune, and there is not one mention of Tama-chan in the game details. We can only hope.

Posted by Paranda at 1:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2005

Komugi Magikarte Z, vol. 2 confirmed

Nurse Witch KomugiWe can all breathe easy now. After many months of waiting and worst-case-scenario speculation, I see that the release date is finally announced. Volume 2 of Komugi Magikarte Z, the sequel OVA series to the successful 5.5-episode "Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte," will be on sale September 22. The limited edition DVD will retail for 6090yen and contain a new episode, along with a booklet and CD as bonuses. It is possible that sneak a figure in too, considering they have done this in the past.

According to the official Komugi fansite, MugiMugi.com, the episode will be broadcasted first on AnimeTV on August 20th at midnight.

Both Komugi series, with characters taken from another popular anime called "The Soultaker," revolve around Komugi Nakahara, a young cosplay idol who is granted magical powers to transform into a fighting nurse/witch. They are complete departures from the "serious" mood of their parent anime, and instead opt for more ridiculous plot points and parodies. Episodes feature cosplay battles between Komugi, large-breasted maids, convention centers turned giant robots, 2ch ascii art, overweight anime producers gone pro-wrestling, and other similarly odd enemies. Notable voice talent include Halko Momoi (do I have to explain who she is?) as Komugi, Yuji Ueda (the guy who's in everything) as her fluffy sidekick, and Ikue Ohtani (She's Pikachu ya know?) as rival Koyori. The character designs are by Poyoyon Rock (Akio Watanabe), who had reportedly modeled Komugi specifically after Momoi.

Stateside, ADVFilms has licensed both Soultaker and Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte. Magikarte Z has yet to be picked up by any company here. Hopefully we will see some news soon. Meanwhile, I will be out another 60bux ;_;

Posted by Paranda at 1:09 AM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2005

Jinx

It's just a superstition

Posted by Paranda at 9:53 AM | Comments (1)

June 20, 2005

Not all clowns are bad

Not this one at least.
Coolest clown ever
The previews at the end of Yakitate 30 have my mouth watering. This is the beginning of a new story arc so I suggest if you were thinking about starting Yakitate, now is the time to do it. I personally enjoy this arc way more anyway...and all thanks to this clown.
BECAUSE I'M A CLOWN

Posted by Paranda at 9:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2005

Gunslinger Girl vol. 2

Gunslinger Girl 2 coverSo I went to B. Dalton's today and saw Gunslinger Girl volume 2 on the shelf. Finally! Finally! I'VE ONLY BEEN WAITING 2 YEARS! Goddammit when the hell did it come out? Leave it to ADV to make sure new releases never get any advertising. It doesn't even exist on their website. ADV's manga release calendar is equally useless(it hasn't been updated in 3 months). Why does such a great series get such poor treatment? Why is ADV in general so incompetent? While I am very happy about finally getting my hands on this book, I still have to complain.

ADV's translators have done a nice job on the book itself, but their publicity department, as always, has been horrible. There are already many reasons to hate ADV's publicity department, from their "What is anime" commercials to their pitifully barebones DVD releases (I need liner notes. Komugi would have been sooo much better if it was released by Bandai/Geneon) to their notoriously bad categorization of anime. The way they handled GSG's release only adds to the fire. Their site has absolutely no information on the book or the series or how many volumes. When they released volume 1, I had been expecting volume 2 to follow shortly. Nothing..so I assumed maybe they were taking their time for a quality release. 6 months later, I was worried ADV had dropped the project. They've done it in the past. But, ADV's website remained unchanged. They still listed book one and so I had hope. I kept that hope for two years. So what the hell was going on? Did they drop the series? Was there a licensing fight? Did book 2 come out? Whatever ADV knew, they didn't tell us. ADV, please learn to make a manga catalogue like Tokyopop which actually has useful information.

Thankfully, I am only a casual Gunslinger Girl fan so it hasn't affected me that much...but Yotsubato, that is another story. ADV, please do not do this to Yotsubato or I will do bad things to you..very bad things such as anonymously insult you on an internet blog.

Please? Please be good to Yotsuba.

Posted by Paranda at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)